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Jersey police gives update on investigations into 15 deaths

Chief of States of Jersey Police, Robin Smith

Islanders are being updated on the cases of the explosion at Haut du Mont, the collision between the L'Ecume II and Commodore Goodwill and the deaths of Dean and Charlie Lowe.

The States of Jersey Police has been working on three fatal incidents, since December 2022.

Chief of Police Robin Smith says to be investigating 13 unexplained deaths and then a further two in the following year is 'unprecedented'.

"It will come as no surprise that the information being provided is provided to the family and friends of the bereaved, and those who have been displaced."

Operation Spire - The Pier Road Explosion

The operation is now at a 'very' advanced stage. Police are 'closer' to the conclusion of what happened at Haut du Mont and how it happened.

Jersey's Police Chief says the theory is still a gas explosion.

"Thinking it is a gas explosion and knowing it is a gas explosion and being able to properly investigate that to the benefit of Law Officers and those who make charging decisions, of course, is very careful and takes a long process.

"We will be looking to submit a file [to Law Officers] hopefully in the next few weeks, maybe in the next month or two, but I've always said that it is never sensible to put timescales on things as inevitably disappoints.

"I've been careful to manage people's expectations, these things do take time and they certainly do take time if you want to do them well, and I am determined we do it well."

Raymond (Raymie) Brown (71), Kathy McGuinness (73), Peter Bowler (72), Ken Ralph and Jane Ralph (aged 72 & 71), Billy Marsden (63), Derek Ellis and Sylvia Ellis (aged 61 & 73), and Romeu De Almeida and Louise De Almeida (67 & 64)

Three people arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter are on bail until May.

The suspects were interviewed last on 2nd, 3rd and 4th April concerning the fatal explosion which took the lives of ten islanders on 10th December 2022.

The trio were arrested on 16th and 17th August and have been released on bail since.

Robin Smith says the level of interest from islanders regarding these investigations has been significant, but if the police want to do these things well it takes time.

"Over a thousand statements have been taken, we have gusting towards 2,000 lines of inquiry, contextually this is enormous, the biggest investigation of our history.

"We've collected 1,800 exhibits, the incident room still has full-time dedicated officers, and they've had to analyse over 6,500 documents in that time."

More than 60,000 personal effects have also been collected from the explosion on Pier Road.

Operation Doric - Dean and Charlie Lowe

A 29-year-old man, charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, will appear before the Royal Court on 12 April.

Dylan John Pounds was also accused, in January, of failing to stop and report an accident, holding a mobile phone while driving and possessing a Class B drug.

He has also been charged concerning the supply of Class A and B drugs, but police say those suspected offences are 'unrelated to the road traffic collision'.

11-year-old Charlie Lowe with his father, Dean (48)

Dean and Charlie Lowe were killed after being struck by a vehicle whilst walking home along Rue de Fauvic in St Clement eight months ago, on 5 August 2023.

The father and son's family and friends have set up the Lowe Legacy Fund which aims to raise money for people in Jersey to access the arts and music - something they were passionate about.

So far tens of thousands of pounds have been donated to the fund from community efforts including a gig and a donations page set up in connection with the Jersey Community Foundation.

Ashleigh, Dean’s fiancé and Charlie’s Mum, has been comforted by the support of islanders.

"We have been overwhelmed by the public support shown for Dean and Charlie.

"During a time of profound grief and shock, it has been such a comfort and a point of pride to see how loved my son and his father were within our community."

 

Operation Nectar - The Collision Between the L'Ecume II and Commodore Goodwill

Jervis Baligat (31), Michael Michieli (62) and Larry Simyunn (33)

Law Officers could be giving a decision, concerning the collision between the L'Ecume II and Commodore Goodwill, in the coming weeks. 

It has been almost 16 months since three fishermen lost their lives at sea, on 8th December, just two days before the tragic explosion at Haut du Mont.

The bodies of the Filipino crew members Jervis Baligat and Larry Simyunn were recovered from the site of the crash five days after the boat sank on 15 December.

The daughter of one of the lost fishermen, Michael Michieli, set up a fund to help the family of the Filipino fishermen, which has raised £104,791.

Whilst searching the wreck of the L'Ecume II, the body of missing skipper Michael Michieli was found on 26 April 2023 and brought ashore.

Robin Smith, Jersey's Chief of Police, says the complex file submitted to the Law Officers department last year was most likely one of the largest ever: "We had a year to do the investigation and of course, then we provided them with a very detailed file and asked them to look at it.

"Now, we've worked with our Law Officer colleagues and lawyers from the very first few weeks, so it's not that they have a standing start but it is very complex so they should and will get the appropriate time, to carefully consider it.

"What we do now is we wait to see what decisions are made and we will react to those decisions when they're know."

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